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Black Money – “Economics is not a moral subject”

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Back in 2008, when the whole world was in a financial ruckus, India was not as affected as rather seems to be the fact. Altogether the country was extraordinarily afloat throughout the whole incident and started recovering just in a year.

And all of that was the blessing of ‘black money’.

Yes, that is what the chief economist of the World Bank and former head adviser to the Indian government, Kaushik Basu claims in his new book, An Economist in the Real world.

What is the deal?

The deal is simply that when all the nations and their banks were busy tackling the overburden of subprime loans (one that is given to people who have a previous record of difficulty in maintaining the repayment schedule) crisis. Indian almost suffered from none.

  • It is evident from the instance of 2005 to 2008, when the economic growth of India was an astounding 9% per annum.
  • But the underlining trick was in the scenery of housing and property pricing boom which had gone up to the rate of 16% between 2002 and 2006; more than the average income of India and even more than that of USA.

All because unlike most parts of the world, in India one will not find the price of the house or that of the property listed in the real estate agent’s office. The amount of the land is fixed by the seller and the person can easily demand the first half in the form of formal payment while the rest in cash. And this latter mode of payment is what constitutes the ‘black money’.

A bit more of the deal –

First up is that the moderate the payment is on the official papers, the less the risk of receiving a hefty capital gains tax bill. While the second one is that, it also benefits the buyer as they have to pay much less of the property tax.

While the UK and the USA did start charging as much as 110% more mortgage at the peak of the property boom, in India the mortgage amount has always been much lower than the actual cost of the property.

That’s why when the prices of the houses and lands fell in India back in 2008 and 2009, the

banks were still comfortably within the range of the property values.

How to solve the problem, according to Mr. Basu?

Some time back, Mr. Basu famously advised the government to criminalize the bribe-takers instead of the givers.

It will be interesting to see if the law is implemented then how the equation will affect the whole dynamics.

Though, he laments that the Indian law has not taken his suggestion into the account. It is likely that if it is ever sanctioned then the bribe-givers, freed from the threat of prosecution will automatically want to resist and be reluctant to take part in the bribe cycle again.

Ultimately, it can be concluded that his whole explanation is sound enough as proved by the fact that India’s economic growth was 7.4% in the third quarter of 2015. Apparently the fastest growth of any major nation in the world.

Kaushik Basu was talking to BBC

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Big reforms made India fastest growing major economies globally: Garg

It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries

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The RBI building in Mumbai. Photo credit: AFP/Sajjad Hussain

The major reforms undertaken by the Indian government for raising economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability have made the country one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, said Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

Garg was addressing the Special Event hosted by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum on ‘Indian Economy: Prospect and Challenges’ in Washington D.C on Friday.

Indian economy needs big reform.

He said the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) represented an “historic economic and political achievement, unprecedented in Indian tax and economic reforms, which has rekindled optimism on structural reforms.” He further emphasized that India carried-out such major reforms when the global economy was slow.

“With the cyclical recovery in global growth amid supportive monetary conditions and the transient impact of the major structural reforms over, India will continue to perform robustly,” Garg said.

During his meetings, Garg highlighted that the digital age technologies have profound implications for policies concerning every aspects of the economy. It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

He expressed that the response to such a transformation will have to shift from ‘catch up’ growth to adoption/adaption of digital technologies for development and growth.

Garg also informed that India has started adopting policies and programmes for transforming systems of delivery of services using digital technologies and connecting every Indian with digital technologies and access through Aadhaar and other such means.

Indian economy should be on rise. www.mapsofindia.com

While citing the example of expanding mobile data access, he mentioned that India is now the largest consumer of mobile data in the world with 11 gigabytes mobile data consumption per month. He informed that India is investing in digital technologies, encouraging private sector to adapt these technologies and also addressing the taxation related issues by introducing equalisation levy.

Garg is currently on an official tour to Washington D.C. to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Urjit Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India and other senior officials. IANS